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Students, Faculty + Alumni

Alumnae Esther Park, Xiaoxi Wu win first and second prizes in José Roca Piano Competition

park_estherEsther Park '12AD, '13MMA won first prize in the 15th International José Roca Piano Competition, and Xiaoxi Wu '11MM won second prize. The competition was held in Valencia, Spain; the final round took place Thursday, November 21.

The first- and second- place finalists earned prize money of 9000 and 5000 euros, respectively. The winner also receives a bust of the competition's namesake, the Valencian pianist José Roca.

The finalists performed concertos with the Mediterranean Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Francisco Vicente Chuliá.This competition is held in honor of José Roca Coll, born in Xirivella in 1915. Roca, who dedicated his life to music and teaching, was a professor and director of the Conservatory of Music.

About Esther Park

Esther Park has performed across the United States as well as in Asia Europe. She has appeared as soloist with many orchestras such as Houston Symphony, Corpus Christi Symphony, Filharmonia Pomorska, Poland, Shanghai Philharmonic, China, the American Academy of Conducting Orchestra at Aspen, Shreveport Symphony, the Juilliard Symphony, and the New Jersey Symphony. In Korea she gave a five-city recital tour, and she has performed at the Juilliard Theater in NYC, Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Salle Cortot in Paris, and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Ms. Park is the winner of the 2009 Prix Amadeo, the 2009 Chopin Gesellschaft Klavierwettbewerb, the 2004 Gina Bachauer Piano Competition at the Juilliard School, and the 52nd Kosciusko International Piano Competition.

Ms. Park has appeared at the Music Academy of the West, the Aspen Music Festival, the Tel-Hai International Music Festival in Israel, and the Van Cliburn Institute in Texas. She has been heard in New York on WQXR Radio as the winner of the 52nd Kosciusko International Competition. Ms. Park is the recipient of President Clinton’s Prodigy Award.

Born in Pusan, Korea in 1984, Ms. Park began to play in public soon after her first piano lessons at the age of four. She moved to the United States in 1995, after being accepted to the Juilliard School’s Pre-College division. Ms. Park has since received her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from the Juilliard School, studying with Dr. Yoheved Kaplinsky. Ms. Park also studied at the Hochschüle fur Musik und Theater (Hannover) under the tutelage of Bernd Goetzke, and received her Artist Diploma and Master of Musical Arts degree from the Yale School of Music under the guidance of Boris Berman.

 About Xiaoxi Wu

wu_xioaxiXiaoxi Wu has received numerous awards at international piano competitions, including third prize in the 10th Internationaler Mozartwettbewerb (Salzburg, Austria) and the International Piano Competition "Europe-Asia" (Orsk, Russia); Grande Prix in the International Competition XXI Century Art (Kiev/Vorsel, Ukraine); and Diploma of Honor in the 13th International Piano Competition Principat d'Andorra (Andorra la Vella, Andorra).

Xiaoxi has given performances and recitals across Europe, Asia, and the United States. She holds a diploma for Professional Mastery and Artistry from the Russian Composers’ Union. She has performed regularly in Russia, in notable venues such as the Grand Hall of Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory and Rachmaninoff Hall in Moscow, among others.

Born in Beijing, Xiaoxi started studying piano at the age of four. From the age of seven she studied with professor Mingsun Zhou, under whose guidance Xiaoxi became a laureate at local piano competitions. She was also selected to record at China Central Television for a program of piano education. In 1999, she moved to Moscow to continue her piano training at the Music College of Frédéric Chopin, in the class of Irina Turusova. In 2002, she entered the Russian Academy of Music after Gnessins in Moscow, in the class of Alexey Skavronsky. In 2006, she received her bachelor’s degree with mention of excellence, and in 2008, she received her first master’s degree with mention of excellence.

In 2009, she was accepted to Yale School of Music in the United States, where she studied with Boris Berman and Claude Frank. In 2011, she received her second master’s degree. Xiaoxi has performed in master classes with artists such as Fou Ts'ong, Hung-Kuan Chen, Victor Merzhanov, Peter Frankl, Victor Rosenbaum, Aquiles Delle Vigne, Alexander Braginsky, Frank Levy, William Grant Naboré, Emanuel Krasovsky, Eduard Zilberkant, and Ramzi Yassa, among others. In 2012, Xiaoxi was invited by Associação António Fragoso to record her debut CD, Invitation to the Dance, at the Grande Auditório do Conservatório de Coimbra, Portugal. The CD will be released in 2014 in the collection of Musique Éternelle.